After living with an eating disorder for eight years, I decided that it was time to seek help and finally take control of it. There are a few reasons why I decided it was now time; one was that I began to feel myself going deeper and deeper into a dark hole and becoming the worse I have ever felt. As my mental health progressively got worse as did my physical, I started to feel exhausted all the time, I was also noticing constant abdominal and kidney pain.Although I wish this could be a story where the first sight of my health deteriorating I got help, that's not the case; I did ignore a lot of signs for many years even lost a tooth in the process.
Unfortunately, within our society, we often think of someone with an eating disorder as an individual who is severely underweight, and although this is the case for some people, it is not the experience of everyone with an eating disorder and was not for me. Because I had this idea of what someone with an eating disorder looked like it made me believe that I was not "sick enough" for help which prevented me from seeking support for years. In reality, though I may have looked ‘healthy' on the outside, however, I was doing a lot of damage to the inside of my body and was far from healthy. What also made me want to get help was my relationship with my loved ones, I began to notice how isolated my eating disorder had made me from everyone I loved, I had started to push everyone away to keep the eating disorder happy.Being around people meant the eating disorder would have to eat, so it slowly started to push people in my life away, building big walls to stop them from seeing what was happening.I began to realise how lonely and isolated I was starting to become and how it was only feeding the eating disorder to become worse, I was willing to put my relationships on the line to fulfil the eating disorder. I started to see how much I would miss out on if I continued down this path and did not seek help, not only would my mental and physical health worsen I was going to lose the most important people in my life.
I think it's important to highlight that for many people with an eating disorder, the need to control your weight and food is only the tip of the iceberg and beneath that is a whole range of different complex issues that are going on for people who are living with an eating disorder. We need to stop seeing eating disorders as a lifestyle choice and start viewing it as a mental illness that requires support regardless of what you look like. I was so sick for so long but was convinced I was okay because I wasn't underweight and no one could see how sick I was getting, not even myself. That's how dangerous eating disorders can be, like other mental illnesses they can be invisible and linger within people for many years without anyone around you even noticing. There is no such thing as being not sick enough to seek help! If you are suffering from an eating disorder, but like me don’t think you look sick enough, please ask yourself how sick do you have to get before you believe you deserve help. Remember that you deserve to get help and are worthy of being helped regardless of how sick you think you are. Don’t wait for your eating disorder to get worse to get help, because you have no idea what damage you could already be doing to your body without you even knowing.